Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Job satisfaction? Not much for Britain’s hard slog ’robot’ workers

03.03.2005


Having to work harder and act like ‘robots’, with little scope for personal initiative, are the chief reasons for declining job satisfaction in Britain, according to new research sponsored by the ESRC.



Feelings of insecurity, too high expectations and people being ‘over-educated’ and unable to find work to match their qualifications, are largely dismissed as factors, in the study led by Professor Francis Green of the University of Kent. His team found no evidence to back suggestions that the dull mood of workers may be due to successive generations having ever higher expectations from their jobs and being disappointed by the realities of employment.

The investigation, which also looked at other European countries and the United States, signals a falling sense of well-being among both British and German workers, but admits defeat when it comes to explaining the decline in Germany. In Britain, between 1972 and 1983 there was a small downward trend in average job satisfaction. There is a lack of data for much of the 1980s, but during the 1990s, three separate sources show significant declines.


Average job satisfaction also fell in West Germany between 1984 and 1997, after which it recovered slightly until 2000. Immediately after re-unification, East Germans had very much lower job satisfaction than workers in West Germany, but the gap narrowed within a couple of years. After 1994, however, East Germans settled also into a decline, in line with the rest of the country. The study found a modest downward movement in the Netherlands over 1994-2000 and in Finland over 1996-2000, yet in neither case is it significant, nor is there any notable trend elsewhere in Europe.

In the US, there was a small downward trend in job satisfaction from 1972 to 2002. But the figures suggests that even over 100 years, it would only fall by 0.1 points - not much on a possible range of 1 to 4. Professor Green said: “The most satisfied employee is one who is in a secure job, with a high level of individual discretion and participation in decision-making, but not requiring highly intensive work effort. They will be well-matched to their job in terms of both qualifications and hours of work, be well-paid but have relatively low pay expectations.”

Professor Green continued: “In Britain, all of the fall in overall job satisfaction between 1992 and 2001 could be accounted for by people having less personal responsibility and use of initiative in their work, combined with an increase in the effort required. “It was implausible to blame job insecurity, because over this period unemployment had fallen and other evidence suggested a falling sense of insecurity during the latter part of the 1990s.”

His report adds that whilst there had been a small increase in people unable to find work to match their qualifications, this was far too small to account for the effect on job satisfaction.

In Germany through most of the 1990s, the fear of job loss was increasing, unsurprisingly given the rise of unemployment throughout that period, and insecurity partly accounts for the decline in job satisfaction. But, says the study, when the whole period, 1984 to 1998 is analysed, job insecurity cannot explain the downward trend.

Professor Green said: “In short, the case of Germany remains a puzzle. We could find nothing in the data we examined which could account for the decline there.”

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>